Each year, new divorce statistics roll in while our media and entertainment industries repeatedly remind us just how common the occurrence truly is in the United States. Still, knowing that we as a country have a 40%-50% divorce rate doesn’t make the experience any easier on those who are going through it themselves.
Understanding Kentucky’s Divorce Process
Divorce is a painful and often headache-inducing legal process — especially when you and your ex can’t see eye to eye on matters like property division, spousal support, child custody, child support, and related topics. Then, of course, there are special circumstances — military divorces, for instance — that pose their own unique set of obstacles.
Fortunately for you, you don’t have to figure out the Kentucky divorce process all on your own. As a family law firm serving Bullitt, Hardin, and Jefferson Counties, we at the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates know all about our state’s approach to divorce and are more than happy to share that knowledge with you. Simply skim the topics we’ve outlined below to begin your crash course.
What Happens First?
To get the ball rolling on your divorce (or “dissolution of marriage,” as Kentucky calls it), you’ll need to start with some paperwork. Which paperwork you file depends on what kind of divorce you’re entering into — contested or uncontested:
- Contested divorces occur when the separating spouses cannot agree on the terms of their divorce, whereas
- Uncontested divorces are more amicable, meaning the spouses are willing to sit down together and draw up their own agreement about matters like property division, parenting privileges, and other major decisions.
Paperwork for a Contested Divorce
If you believe yours will be a contested divorce, then you need to start by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and contacting a Kentucky divorce attorney. To answer your question, no — an attorney isn’t legally required to file your petition. However, you’ll want a knowledgeable legal professional at the ready before you enter into the negotiation stage.
Contested divorces are frustrating at best, so you’ll want someone who can answer all your questions, genuinely cares about representing your best interests, and has the experience to effectively back you up in or out of court.
Paperwork for an Uncontested Divorce
If yours is an uncontested divorce, you’ll still need to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. In addition, you and your ex will need to draft a marital settlement agreement — a document in which you outline your decisions about property, debt, parenting responsibilities, and so on.
For uncontested divorces, this is where an attorney comes in especially handy. After all, even the most amicable of separations can lead to major legal headaches. An experienced and empathetic lawyer can drastically simplify the process and help you reach a fair and fitting arrangement for your specific needs and goals.
What Details Will We Need to Negotiate?
Regardless of whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, at some point you and your ex will need to hash out the details of your separation, including:
This short list may not cover every possible detail you’ll have to consider, but it gives you an idea of which topics you need to start thinking about. Setting clear goals and realistic expectations now can help you prepare for the remainder of the divorce process.
What If It’s a Military Divorce?
If you’re a military service member (or the spouse of a service member), you probably already know that military divorces come with special considerations. It’s important that you choose an attorney who understands those considerations.
At the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates, we are well-versed in all aspects of military divorce, including retirement issues, child visitation rights during deployment, and the SCRA. To learn more, we encourage you to check out our military divorce page.